The Trump administration made a big mistake when they fired Xavier Becerra as attorney general. They tried to “fire” him, but he had already resigned after winning the House seat that will be vacated by his successor. The law states that an individual can only be dismissed from their position if they resign or die in office and there is no other way of removing them.
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6:32 p.m., 1 February 2022 ET
On September 30, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra spoke before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Shawn Thew/Associated Press photo
The White House seems to be having second thoughts about appointing Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Indulging in identity politics during a pandemic comes at a price.
The Biden Administration is “frustrated,” according to a cast of nameless dozens in a Washington Post piece, with Mr. Becerra’s inability to “coordinat[e] the nation’s huge health bureaucracy” to manage the virus, enabling “confusing and frequently contradicting signals.” According to one unidentified senior Administration official, the HHS secretary is in over his head and “taking too passive a role” in virus control.
This should come as no surprise to anybody who has followed Mr. Becerra for a long time. We’re not sure what the White House was expecting when it named a leftist lawyer with no expertise in healthcare to lead a massive $1.5 trillion agency tasked with carrying out Mr. Biden’s campaign vow to “shut down the virus.”
Mr. Becerra served in the California House of Representatives for 24 years until being appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016 to succeed Kamala Harris as Attorney General of the state. Mr. Becerra’s term was marked by the filing of over a hundred lawsuits against the Trump administration and his support for Medicare for All. President Biden had a lot of good choices for HHS, but he gave in to awakened pressure and appointed a leftist Hispanic.
The collateral damage has been substantial, and it extends well beyond the White House’s grouse about “message.” Mr. Becerra’s department is at the core of a testing and treatment scarcity that has resulted in unnecessary fatalities, and the Administration has been chastised for being unprepared for Covid’s Omicron spike. One benefit of his blunder is that HHS hasn’t wreaked havoc on the health-insurance and medication markets with a regulatory bombardment, but that will undoubtedly change.
Despite the fact that Administration leakers are slamming Mr. Becerra, there’s no indication that Mr. Biden intends to fire him. What’s to stop you? The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other grass-roots organizations who pressured Biden to nominate more Latinos to his Cabinet would be outraged, according to the Post. The difficulty with prioritizing identification above qualifications is that an appointment cannot be removed even if he shows inept.
Joe Biden lowers Justice Stephen Breyer’s replacement requirements to “the first black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” bringing affirmative action to the Supreme Court. Pool/AP/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters/Reuters Mark Kelly’s composite
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‘Why Becerra Can’t Be Fired’ appeared in the print edition on February 2, 2022.